Would you rather have the pain of growing or the pain of staying where you are?
I am often asked how I did it. How I survived the divorce. The separation, the secrets uncovered, the transition from family of three in a home I bought to single mama in an apartment alone- and that’s just it, I survived.
One breath, one hour, one day at a time- I kept moving. Putting one foot in front of the other. Feeling pain and emotions I didn’t even know were possible. Recognizing the unhealthy patterns I repeated that led to such an unhealthy relationship, and reveling in the absolute joy that resulted from the coupling- my Miles.
The pain does not just dissipate. You do not wake up one day healed and whole and happy. No one does. Because life is not a destination. It is the ascent up the mountain. It is the fresh mountain air, the wildflowers, the wind in your hair. It is the bleeding of scraped nails and cuts and bruises, the pain and joy of it all.
There is no end place- no happy destination where we land. Because life is most certainly the journey. The thrill and pain and ecstasy of the climb.
I am still climbing. Each and every day I choose to wake up, to show up, to cuddle that beautiful baby I have the absolute pleasure of raising and keeping safe. I choose to look for the morning light that eventually pours through our windows, to revel in the smell of fresh coffee, to run and play in the rain and the dirt with my little- I choose to live this life. This remarkably beautiful life I have built. I choose to see the good, the more you look for it the more you will find.
I take care of myself, like really really take care of myself. I drink tons of water and move my body. I curate my space and surroundings so that they bring me nothing but joy.
I remind myself that I am stronger now. The person that accepted love from someone so horrible to me, she’s not here anymore. I am not mad at her, I love her so very much. She was doing the very best she could at the time- I honor her, she got me here after all. She survived the hardest part, she’s just not in the driver’s seat anymore.
When he tries to get to me, or when the world throws something dark and painful, I remember that we have overcome before- and we will do so again. Because the pain of growth is so very worth it.
I’m finally sitting down to think about what I want from 2020. Yes, I have a word for this year, but there are many things I have on my heart (btw after re-reading my post, I think my real word for 2020 is…trust.)
I’ve written before that I often take January to think. To slow down and check-in with myself. What feels off? What is weird or strange or repeatedly coming up for me? What feels good? What do I want more of? Who in the world am I and what in the heck do I want from life?
I think we’re all under the false assumption that everyone has it all figured out. That the people we know, from real-life or Instagram, know exactly what they want and they are on the path to get it.
But I think, just maybe, we’re all on the path of figuring it out.
This month I’ve felt off. Weird about lots of things, and turning to external factors that I would love to blame. I feel weird? Must be my partner, my friends, my job, my house, too many clothes, not enough clothes, still feel weird – what could it be!?
It’s me. It’s always me. Refusing to do the work. To look at my inner self and ask her what’s up. I’ve avoided the things I know will help me. Meditation, writing, hiking, getting out in nature in any way, my daily journal. I’ve pushed it all away because I know there’s work to be done.
There will always be work to do on ourselves, unbecoming all of those things that our culture, our world, has told us we must be and do and become.
I have found, without exception, that when things change inside of you- things begin to change around you.
My word for 2019 was adventure- and oh what an adventure it was. Other words that describethispastyear? Hustle, suffering, exhaustion, meditation, anger, fear, hope, love, laughter, kindness, connection, family, love, heartache, growth, collapse, beauty, new.
I am so aware thatI am only co-creating this life of mine. My goals and plans and hopes and dreams matter, and I work toward themeach day, but I don’t ever really know how they will manifest. The universe sometimes has other plans.
Plans thatI would never have expected. Being a single mom and divorced at 28 was never in my plans. It was not one of the dreams I manifested and wrote about and meditated on. Having a stranger try to break into our apartment? Also not one of the dreams or goals.
But guess what? Being left by my husband became the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. Not when it happened, but in the work and growth and change that came after. I am stronger and wiser and more alive than I have ever been.
I am closer to mydreams than I ever thought Icould be.
The hustle that was forced upon me by needing to provide for me and my little one led to so many new experiences. I became a professor, I networked and made fantastic connections, andIproved to myself that I could be a mom and work three jobs- goingfrom 5am-11pm just to wake up and do it again the next day.
The break-in led me to find a home that is so safe and sweet and beautiful and magic, without the forced move I wouldn’t be here.
I learned that I am stronger than I ever knew. So muchstronger than I ever thought I could be.
Sometimes, when it is time for a change, the universe will make it so uncomfortable for you that you have no choice but to leave.
If you have not heard from me this pastyear, I have been surviving. Working and learning and growing and mama-ing, and figuring it out.
This next year? My word is fun. I have worked so damn hard thatmy company noticed, they sawmy hustle and dreams and decided to pay me what I’mworth. Hard work and staying the course pay off. Dreams don’t happen overnight, you have to put the work in.
Some years are hustle years. Other years are for hibernation. For me, this year, I want to have fun.
This doesn’t mean thatevery moment will be blissful or wild or big, it means that I want to feel the benefits of my hard work.
I want to be sillywith my baby, go on outdoor adventures, meet new people, try new things, take life a little lessseriously.
My only advice? Do not compare yourself to others. Do not compareyour years. You can only compare the current version of you, to previous evolutions that have come before.
Are you doing better now than you were this time last year? If not, what are you ready to change?
Maybe this is your hustle year, or your rest year, or your fun year– and remember, leave a little room for the unknowns. For the things that are meant for you, the things you have no idea are meant for you.
I have been building capsule wardrobes for nearly four years. A process I now find easy and normal- I can’t quite picture life without one.
For me, it has brought ease, simplicity, creativity, and joy to my life. I think less now about capsule wardrobe rules, numbers, and how to form them, and more about how living with a smaller closet seasonally is just easier.
Less to choose from means less decision fatigue, less stress, less laundry and less money spent on new clothing.
I hope that living with fewer items and wearing them until they completely wear out also puts less in the landfills and I give less money to companies that don’t care about our people or our climate.
I hope that being an outfit repeater lets others know that I care less about what I put on my body and more about what is in my brain and heart.
It is not about perfection, it’s about contentment. It’s about taking care of and loving yourself. Clearing out the stuff and the clutter and the noise in life to make way for joy, love, and freedom.
Clutter smothers, simplicity breathes.
Bonnie Rae xx
If you are interested in building a capsule, these can help:
But in between meals, maybe we can lie in bed one more time
One more prolonged moment where time suspends indefinitely as I rest my head on your chest
My hope is if we add up the “one mores” they will equal a lifetime and I’ll never have to get to the part where I let you go.
But that’s not real, is it?
There are no more one mores.
I met you when everything was new and exciting, and the possibilities of the world seem endless.
And they still are… for you, for me, but not for us.
When something breaks, if the pieces are large enough you can fix it.
Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t break, they shatter
But when you let the light in, shattered glass will glitter.
In those moments, when the pieces of what we were catch the sun – I’ll remember just how beautiful it was
How beautiful it will always be
Because it was us
We were magic
When my ex-husband left me, in a flurry of cheating and fighting and cold and sad, I would have given my life for just one more. One more kiss, one more hug, one more chance.
I offered everything to barter for one more. I gave up dreams, my heart, my peace, my values, my soul. Just for one more.
One more never came. It was not there, I was not there. I was made of fights and pain and losing myself to something that wasn’t meant for me.
When I asked for readers to send me what they would like advice on through my writing, the most highly requested topic was divorce, separation, and moving on.
I’m no expert, but there are a few thingsI know for sure.
No relationship can grow if you are not working each day to be whole. I entered my marriage very broken and insecure- I did not know my own power yet. I was the perfect target for manipulators and abusers, and I didn’t even know it.
As I came out of my separation, my divorce, I made a list of everything I wanted in a future person: kindness, honesty, a growth mindset, healthy habits, a willingness to work on themselves and go to therapy. Then I set out into the world to become thatperson.
How couldI require things in a partnerthatI was not working on myself? If the energy I was putting out into the world was still the broken, hurting, insecure personI had become- who would I attract?
Healing is a process, breath by breath we grow and heal and learn.
I have not done it alone. With my baby, beautiful friends, family, colleagues and my kickass therapist, I have come so far this past year.
If you are hurting, if you are in a broken relationship right now reading this, knowthat you have the power to grow and change. But also know that when youstart to grow and change you might start to shed toxic people from your life, and one of those people might be your partner.
No two stories are the same, your life will never look exactly like mine, but I share because when I was going through the deepest parts ofthis, I was so desperate for someone that understood. Someone who had stood where I stood in the depths of my pain and survived.
If you had told me when all of this happened that it was somehow meant for me, I would have called you a liar. When the pain was so raw and it hurt to breathe, when I called my sister five times a day telling her I couldn’t do it, when I told myself to survive six months. Just keep moving each day for the next six months.
It’s been almost a year now, and I can tell you, as someone planted firmly on the other side of the pain- this was meant for me.
I am not exaggerating when I tell you, I have never been happier, healthier or more alive than I am at this very moment.
You contain multitudes. If something is ending it may have served the purpose it was meant to in your life and now it is time to let it go. You are so much stronger than you know, we can all survive so much more than we think.
What you are asking for, wishing for in your heart, may be coming to you in a different way than you expected. It takes time.
It takes really hard work and tears and laughter and help along the way, but it’s out there. Calling for you. You get to decide if you’re going to answer it.